NEWBURGH – With Tax Day looming, Mount Saint Mary College accounting students are providing free tax preparation for local middle- and low-income families.
The assistance program is a partnership between AARP TaxAide Foundation and the Mid-Hudson CASH Coalition.
The students serve their community in donated space at Newburgh Ministry, Newburgh Free Library, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union in Newburgh, the Marasco Senior Center in New Windsor, and Literacy Orange in Middletown.
Amanda Pecorella of Fishkill, N.Y., a freshman, and Trevor Pungello of Otisville, N.Y., a graduate student, recently lent their accounting skills to the effort. The students trained for at least 40 hours though classroom work with AARP certified instructors and self-study, then passed an IRS certification exam.
"I like to help people, so this was a great way to help while getting experience at the same time," said Pecorella, an aspiring certified public accountant. "I want to be able to give them as much of a refund as possible."
Pungello noted that participating in the tax prep helps differentiate Mount students from others looking for accounting jobs.
Pecorella and Pungello agreed that Tracey Niemotko, professor of accounting, was a driving force behind their academic success.
"She’s a mentor to me," said Pecorella. "She keeps me going in the professional direction I want to be going."
Other Mount students sharing their accounting techniques are Shikha Gupta of Newburgh; Stephen Lawrence of the Bronx; Katherine Morey of Fishkill; Jeremias Ramos of Monroe; Richard Casmus of Milford, Pa.; Rebecca Jacobini of New Paltz; Emily Baker of Marlboro; and Samuel Watson of Groton, Conn.
"They are all terrific people and very capable," said David Weaving, Hudson Valley CASH Coalition chair. "Our veteran tax counselors are very impressed by them."